Punjabi to Pints to Poetry

My name is Arun Kapur and I'm from Wolverhampton. I am a freelance support artist on television/film, 3rd Assistant Director, support staff mentor for children and also a duty manager for an Independent Arthouse cinema. I have featured also in newspapers, interviews for production companies including the BBC. I have also appeared on many television programmes and feature-length films, both in front and off camera.

As well as all this, I am also a poet. I self-published based on the topic of mental health. My work covers everyday feelings and situations we may come across. I believe so much in promoting good mental health, raising awareness, and supporting everyone as much as you can, whilst also practising self-care.

I am currently in process of writing my second book. I have been writing ever since I was 12 and find it very calming.

Whilst life has blessed me with many things, I have also had some turbulent times. Times growing up in my youth were not always easy. I was openly bullied during my Secondary School education, and, looking back, it did leave a mark on me in the aftermath. Maybe not a physical one, but definitely a mental one.

Whilst it was horrible, I do not believe the bullying was racially motivated. I went to a multi-faith secondary school, and I was usually on the receiving end of bullying from people of my own background.

I coped during this period by just staying silent about it and continuing on each day as it came along. I grew up in a time where I assumed it was best to stay silent, otherwise, you would get into more trouble. I was wrong.

I turned to alcohol from a young age. I was 12 when I had my first drink, and it was, for me at the time, the only choice I felt I had. It was more so because of peer pressure from the older school kids, and also facing my own personal demons.

At school, I was always told I would never amount to anything. This was by my so-called peers and sometimes even 'friends' during the time I was being bullied.

I wasn't a rebel during my school years, I always knew of the difference between right and wrong, but I still succumbed to putting myself further in the horrible situations. I soon became an alcoholic. Whilst during the downward journey it was scary, and I found myself spiralling out of control, as I got older, I knew I needed to do something.

Eventually, when I turned 16 and was going into my A-Level studies, I officially had enough. I reached out in support from my family, I told them the truth, and they were by my side the entire time.

It is very well documented that Punjabi culture has a lot of drinking issues. I wasn't aware of this of course during my youth but only learned of it as I was getting worse. I believe the key point to stopping was actually when I graduated from university.

It was during my university years, I had finally got away from the bullies and was able to start a new fresh life. However, during uni, I was trying to impress others to the point I again put myself at risk, but I'm grateful I came out with my degree and life in hand.

I am now less inclined to drinking. During the time of recovery, I have made sure to always go out of my way to inspire others and support others on their journey. As a result of all this, I was able to achieve my dream and be involved within the media industry as a career.

 I was always told as well I was different from the other kids in school and made to feel, because of their taunts, that I would never achieve anything. Deep down, I always believed in myself and was determined to make sure I would get to my dreams. I believe it is key not just be a nice person to others, but to also be nice to yourself.

I always reinforce positive mind set on an everyday basis, as I believe life is great. We must inspire the present generation, for the future to be founded!

Mental health issues have been a taboo for a long time, but through my experience, if you just find that extra bit of strength, you can reach out and I promise it will do a whole world of good! 

I believe life is wonderful and full of good. There are times when we may feel we have no hope, each day is a battle, but one we can beat! Believe in your dreams, and keep your wings spread!

To think Arun turned to alcohol at the age of 12, his life could have been so different. All credit to him for finding the strength to turn to his family and get the support he so clearly need.

Did alcohol play a part in your childhood, either through bullying or something else? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments below.

If you can want keep up-to-date with Arun, you can follow him on Twitter where he's @ArunKapur47You can also order a copy of Arun's book, The Blindside Memoirs, via our Amazon link.